Making a T-Shirt Quilt

Have you ever made a T-shirt Quilt?

I’ve been saying I’m going to make one for about 8 years now, and I swear I’m just about to get around to it! Since doing some recent spring (OK, fine, summer) cleaning, I rediscovered my stash of T-shirts that I’ve put aside for that very purpose. So I’ve been researching and planning exactly how I’m going to make my quilt, and it turns out there’s a lot to know!

The main thing to consider, I’ve found, is that I’ll need some sort of fusible web or stabilizer to keep the T-shirt fabric from stretching out, and to make it simpler to combine with non-stretchy woven fabrics. That’s easy enough, since there are lots of choices for fusible web and stabilizers available, in all different weights, at local quilt shops and online.

Like any good internet user, if there’s something I’d like to know how to do, I try to find quilting video tutorials on the topic. So that’s what I did for my T-shirt quilt project. The My First Quilt video series with Sarah Gallegos is free to watch on Quilting Company TV and is a great resource for all kinds of techniques. She has a great, informative video tutorial on making T-shirt quilts, so I’m starting there.

Quilted Memories

Quilted Memories T-Shirt Quilt

Quilted Memories T-Shirt Quilt

I really like one of the patterns we have called Quilted Memories. It’s a really useful pattern because it takes into consideration that not all T-shirt logos are the same size, and offers solutions for using your particular T-shirts.

Since the size of motifs on T-shirts can vary so widely, it’s a little hard to find dedicated T-shirt quilt patterns, I’ve realized. But not impossible! Quiltmaker has a nice T-Shirt Quilt Patterns e-book with lots of different patterns; there’s something in there to suit just about every style and size.

Quiltmaker’s T-Shirt Quilt Patterns e-book

Quiltmaker’s T-Shirt Quilt Patterns e-book

But I also realized, as I was looking for T-shirt quilt patterns, that a number of traditional patterns could be adapted to become T-shirt quilts. It’s true! If a pattern has appliqué blocks, for example, those blocks could be turned into T-shirt motif blocks. Or if a pattern just uses large square patches to show off a cool print, those cool print patches can become T-shirt motif patches, and so on. I’m considering using one of the patterns shown below for my T-shirt quilt, to really make it one-of-a-kind.

Fanciful Quilt

Fanciful quilt by TailorMade by Design

The Fanciful Quilt Pattern is a perfect example of this, in my opinion. If you have small motifs you can use them in the Four-Square Blocks, or if you have larger motifs you can just use a single patch in the larger squares. I think it would look really sharp as a T-shirt quilt.

Disney Princess Dreams Quilt

Disney Princess Dreams Quilt

Another pattern that would work in this capacity is the Disney Princess Dreams Quilt pattern. I love the heart motif and instead of the Disney fabric, a t-shirt design would work perfectly.

Across the Line

Across the Line Quilt by Brenda Ratliff

The final pattern I’m considering turning into a T-shirt quilt pattern is Across the Line. I really like the graphic design of this quilt. I think there are a lot of options for the cornerstones and sashing that would accentuate the design in the t-shirts.

Lots of good options, right? But I’ll be honest. The main reason I haven’t started my T-shirt quilt yet is because I’m too busy making regular quilts! I’ve got deadlines to meet, gifts to make, and there’s just too much beautiful quilting cotton sitting around, begging to be cut and sewn. And the T-shirt quilt I have in mind would be just for me, just for fun. So it keeps getting postponed.

If you’ve made a T-shirt quilt or two and you have any advice for me, I’d love to hear it. Also, if you know of a device or method that completely prevents procrastination, that would be useful for me to know as well. Thanks and happy quilting!

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